Green, Paschen face off in Senate District 24

They seek to replace retiring Sen. Jerry Behn

Jesse Green, a Republican from Harcourt, and Cynthia Paschen, a Democrat from Ames, are running for state Senate District 24, which includes Story, Boone, Greene, Webster and Hamilton Counties, plus the community of Sheldahl in Polk County.

With the election just weeks away, The Messenger has asked each candidate a series of questions to help voters decide which candidate would best represent them.

Jesse Green

What are three serious issues facing our state right now and what would you do to try to solve them ? What legislation would you help introduce or support?

We must flatten and simplify the tax code. Two things that stick out to me with our tax climate is that we have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the nation, and our property taxes have nearly doubled in the past 20 years. We must do better to help create a more business-friendly environment.

We must make our good education system better. The average class size in Iowa is roughly 20 students. We must lower this if we expect to see better achievement. Many things will be required in order to be successful in lowering this number, but my focus on state education funding will be pushing education dollars directly into the classroom and limiting the state burdens that lead to extra administrative overhead. Everyone does have a choice in where to send their children, but not everyone has the resources. If students are the state’s No. 1 priority and where the state spends most of taxpayer money, then it is reasonable the money should follow the student into whatever environment their family chooses regardless. School choice is proven to raise test scores in other states. Let’s explore school choice here in Iowa, and see what we need to do to create a better teaching environment for our educators and students.

Creating more competition within the meat processing industry is a must. This is critical for our rural district and to bring more value for our livestock producers. Let’s take a closer look at every rule and regulation regarding the meat industry and see what could possibly be removed to lessen the burden and red tape for future entrepreneurs. I’d also like to explore ways we may be able to help establish more cooperative organizations within the pork and beef industry to help make sure our farmers have plenty of opportunity in the future to stay viable and create opportunity for generations to come.

What sets you apart from your opponent?

In my race the choice is very clear. I have lived and served every day of my life in this district. In contrast, my opponent has just recently purchased her first property in the district. I love living here and have always been dedicated to the future prosperity of this area. I am a fifth generation farmer, but there are many other things that have defined my life. Being active in the community has shaped me in many ways. This began early in life through being active in 4-H. In my 20s and early 30s I have served in various positions at the Dayton Rodeo, and was honored to be the youngest chairman in Dayton Rodeo history. During this time as well I served in various positions for the Webster County Farm Bureau Board. In 2017, I was honored to receive the Top 10 Under 40 Young Professionals Award for the Fort Dodge region. In recent years, I have served as a Bible instructor at Community Christian School in Fort Dodge while furthering my education at Iowa Central Community College and Emmaus Bible College. Due to my background, I believe I can connect to every voter in this district. I believe I am the clear choice in this race to be the bold, rural voice we need in Des Moines. I have been honored to receive many endorsements from elected leaders in both parties, this has helped lay the foundation for me to be an effective leader for this district on day one.

What is one thing you’ve learned in visiting with Iowans during your campaign?

There is so much fear and uncertainty. People are responding to these strange times in different ways. I have appreciated to see firsthand while visiting with central Iowans, that even during challenging times, “Iowa nice” is still true for the vast majority of the population. I look forward to representing this positive attitude at the capital and doing so will help in the cause to preserve our right’s and values that has brought us so much opportunity. Despite what the media projects, the world is not as dark as they make it out to be. All one has to do is shut the TV off and talk to their neighbor to see that we can make tomorrow better if we work together with a good attitude. I have been blessed to experience this for myself while on the campaign trail, let’s get the job done.

Cynthia Paschen

What are three serious issues facing our state right now and what would you do to try to solve them ? What legislation would you help introduce or support?

The most serious issue facing our state is COVID-19 and our governor’s failure to institute a mask mandate. If Gov. Reynolds is not willing to pass a mask mandate, she needs to let communities and counties pass a mask mandate with penalties. It’s the only way to prevent the spread of the virus.

In our response to the pandemic, our Iowa Public Health Department has not provided accurate or timely reports of positive tests and outbreaks at schools, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities or meat packing plants. Testing has been inadequate and a no-bid testing contract was awarded with poor results for accuracy and numbers tested. Our governor has not been transparent about the use of CARES funding. The legislature must work in January to ensure transparency and a better response to the pandemic to guarantee a healthy future for Iowans.

What sets you apart from your opponent?

I have been a hospice volunteer for 22 years. I have spent my life listening to the stories of Iowans. I am ready to tell those stories and to fight for a better Iowa for my daughters, and for all of our children.

What is one thing you’ve learned in visiting with Iowans during your campaign?

It has been a pleasant surprise to work with the county Democratic parties in Story, Boone, Greene, Webster and Hamilton counties. These volunteers have been energized and creative in helping me to win back this open Senate seat. This experience has been so much fun, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve met so many wonderful people who are ready to fight for change for their communities. Big thanks to all who have volunteered, donated, hosted a yard sign, or talked with friends and neighbors about the importance of voting.


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